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Sunday, June 16, 2013


“Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.”  Lamentations 3:32


This is a small sampling of the books I have been trying to read – some given to me by dear friends as I walk through this season, others – personal favorites. This is when I wish I could read & retain information as quickly as Chris.


And then, this is a glimpse of the litter of information thrown at you when you bear the title “cancer patient.” This doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the piles one has to surf through, digest & try to make sense of when a cancer diagnosis seems overwhelming enough. Mark my words – all of this paper waste will be burned in a bonfire when I am cancer free (you will be invited). I don’t want anything to do with it now and I most definitely won’t ever want to see it when this is said and done.

I must provide this caveat before I immerse myself in this post. I should know by now when I write a post as the one I did before - a post explaining what I am learning, a post declaring how God’s nearness is so evident to me, a post suggesting cancer could be a gift – a time of testing or trial will come. It’s almost like clockwork – I will experience several days of peace about this process and then I’ll hit a really low, low. It’s like God or Satan or perhaps both want to see if my proclamations are legit (I am not stating this as theological Truth, just my personal observation on this cancer rollercoaster). As Tullian Tchividjian shares in his sermon series, Job: Gospel of Suffering, “Satan roams the earth to devour faith.” And goodness, he made a pit stop at my door this week to wreak a bit of havoc on my emotions.

I won’t sugarcoat anything I share with you, so I will just say it like it is – the last three days have stunk. I like how Chris puts it when he has a not-so-fun day at work. He won’t complain, he’ll just say, “It was gross.” Yep – three absolutely, totally, beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt gross days. I will say it until I am blue in the face – I HATE cancer! I HATE cancer! I HATE cancer!

Unlike Chris, however, I will vent a minute (You can skip to the next paragraph if you don’t like venters. It’s part of how I process) . . . I never wanted to learn a thing about cancer (and trust me, it will take a lifetime to accomplish this, not two months). I never wanted my life to be dictated by appointments, tests, surgeries, radiation and especially chemo. I didn’t want to change my eating regimen. I didn’t want to cancel vacations to Laguna Beach, northern California, Disney World & Colorado to be substituted by trips to Mercy Hospital & MD Anderson. I didn’t want to lose almost complete functionality of my right hand (I am typing with one hand plus a pointer finger) or entertain the thought I might lose my right arm altogether (who will teach Alexa how to shoot a beautiful jumper)? I didn’t want my entire family’s schedules to be turned inside-out. I don’t want endless poison, narcotics & steroids in my body (nor to endure the possible side-effects be it short-term or long-term). I don’t relish living with chronic pain – especially at night. I don’t enjoy being limited, because of my pain & tumors, in what used to be easy, everyday tasks. I don’t like feeling constantly overwhelmed by the decisions this disease forces upon me. I don’t like that my precious time with Alexa is being robbed. I don’t dance around knowing my longing for a home filled with children may only be a longing or put on hold indefinitely. I don’t feel warm & fuzzy when people in the medical field gasp and look at me in pity saying, “Oh . . . you have that kind of cancer?” I don’t like facing the reality that I have to fight to simply live – I can’t just take it for granted like I did the past 34 years. And (hear me ladies), I don’t want to lose my hair, my eyebrows, and heaven forbid, my eyelashes. Perhaps that is the most silly of all, but it is a big one for me as of lately . . . if the lashes do fall out, we will be investing in lash extensions. I suppose that can come out of my hair care budget.

As I near the beginning of my most dreaded treatment therapy (and let me say, regardless of how I feel right now, I am incredibly grateful for this therapy & I am confident my God is bigger than all of this), I have wrestled with all of these thoughts and more. I have cried so hard my sinuses and eyes have completely swollen . . . so hard, tears refused to come - just ugly guttural groans. I have shouted in anger about how much I hate this, how cruel and unfair this feels. I have looked at others my age and been jealous because for some reason, I have to walk through this. And yes, I have asked the unanswerable question – “Why Lord?” The past three days I have grieved (and unlike Job, I have sinned in the process). I have mourned the loss of everything I knew to be normal – now just a distant memory (but one close enough I still long for it). As our associate pastor told us, “Your lives will never be the same again.” I am totally cognizant of the fact that could be an incredibly wonderful thing. It’s just really hard for me to believe right now when I’m facing some very yucky stuff. Stuff I never, ever wanted to face. I pitied the person who had to take chemo. Now . . . I am that person (a deep, sad sigh). I resist change. I am horrible at being flexible and I crave certainty. Ain’t none of these things happening in my world anymore – except the certainty I will have to embrace my new lifestyle, accept that everything has changed & live in the flexibility that cancer forces upon you.

Cancer is an ugly thing, friend. I know I don’t have to tell anyone that. I’m just saying, for me this week, it was really, really ugly. Did I mention I HATE cancer!? And as I told Chris in the midst of one of my sad/angry messes, I know all of the things I feel and say aren’t true but it doesn’t change the fact I am feeling them in this moment. Goodness, cancer is filled with ups, downs and lots of in-betweens . . .and I thought infertility was a rollercoaster!!

Now that I’ve shared a bit of what’s been going on in my heart since returning from MD Anderson, I would also like to share some things that have encouraged me in the midst of my darkness & discouragement.

-- A precious friend reminded me this is temporary NOT forever (Thank you Jamie! I needed that more than you knew the day you sent that to me).

-- Here are a few quotes from the Tchividjian series on Job (it’s a must-listen & thank you, Marissa, for sharing). Also his book, Glorious Ruin, is amazing (thank you Ryan for passing that along)! The book was the fruit of his sermon series. I can send you the link to the sermons if you are interested.

“To grieve as a Christian is an act of worship. It is a statement of faith for Jesus to return.” (Check out Romans 8:18-39)

“There will always be mystery in the ways of God or He would cease to be God and we would cease to trust Him.”

“God uses evil, sin, disease & suffering to show us more of who He is. We wouldn’t know certain attributes of God without sin.”

“God ordains suffering so He can be glorified. I can be sanctified, and the enemy is defeated.”

“Deep suffering leads to deep surrender. It forces you to let go of the things you hold more tightly than God.”

--My response to the many emotions & fears I face should be a fixed gaze on my loving Father (thank you for the reminder, Marissa). “Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  2 Chronicles 20:12

--Finally, I will end with this passage my mother-in-law prayed for me on one of my bad days. It is the cry of my heart . . .
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.”  Psalm 40:1-3

-- My port will be put in on Monday (June 17) at 11:30am. As you know, I am not excited about this foreign thing being in my body but I know it is necessary and for my good. Pray it wouldn’t stick out, gross me out or get infected.

--The plan is to start chemo Thursday (June 20). We haven’t received a start time. My chemo regimen is a three week cycle. Week one, day 1 – one drug (approximately 1-2 hours). Week two, day 8 – two drugs (approximately 3-4 hours). Week three – rest, rebuild & recover for next cycle. There are also steroids and a shot in the mix. If the chemo is effective and I tolerate it well (our prayer), Dr. Benjamin would like to do 6 cycles (18 weeks). The big prayer here is that chemotherapy would work – meaning it would shrink or totally evaporate the tumor in my arm (so my arm could be saved) and eradicate microscopic traces of cancer in my body. NO MORE CANCER – ever!! We are also praying boldly for God to lessen or eliminate side effects. Yes, we believe He is big.

-- The pain in my right forearm continues to increase. Sleep seems elusive. Pray I can find a way to manage the pain and get some rest without heavy narcotics. Prayer for the pain in my upper and lower back would be appreciated as well.

-- Chemotherapy will be my first routine interaction with people just like me. Pray I can be a light & blessing in the midst of fear & discouragement. We know this next step will be a marathon. Pray for God-sized endurance for all involved.

-- From what we understand, the targeted radiation to the C7 tumor is still at work. Please pray it would totally erase those cancer cells.

-- It is now 1:30am, so my precious army of prayer warriors, please fill in the gaps as you always do so faithfully.


  1. Kelsey, I truly understand every one of your thoughts and feelings!!! I still have some of those thoughts when I want to do some things and because of my handicap it is just not possible. A couple of weeks ago I was complaining to God about what I couldn't do and He reminded me to be thankful for what I could do and not focus on what I couldn't do! Life has been hard at times, but I truly have been blessed. I am so thankful God does understand how we feel and He does let us vent. You are in my prayers continually. Love you, Shelly

  2. Kelsey,

    You are already speaking another language-not just the medical jargon you'd probably not speak-but I am excited to hear how God is drawing you near in ways you have never known. And yes, thank you for being so brutally honest. I don't mind hearing it even though tears run more freely.
    I want to write you so much more but it seems hard to empathise exactly with your physical, emotional, and mental pain. I have not known cancer pain just chronic health issues that often elude me. Yes, some pains have gotten better. Others have not.
    We will also pray for divine know I had to throw that one in there. I don't know if you are ready for that, but I pray He'll make you ready. People will come into your path by reading, by hearing, by word of mouth, in the hall, on the phone, and yes, by reading your face. I pray you will be led by His Spirit in those times. He will use you even at the lowest times, right?
    He will. He will be glorified and is. Big hug from the Maricles.

  3. Philippians 3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

  4. Kelsey,
    Praying for you from Fort Worth. The thoughts are hard to read but so good for us to be stretched enough to not avoid the hard stuff of life. We have the victory in Jesus! I know you will be a light for him to all of the new people you encounter as you become a regular in chemo and doctor's offices. I pray that you can speak boldly of the hope you have in Him. I am sure you'll be with those who are searching for answers!You have it. How glorious! Maybe this is your new mission field?! Sorry to be so "glass half full" but I am confident that you will be be able to turn this into eternal salvation for many others. God bless you, friend.

    Amy Hay